All Posts Tagged ‘creation

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My cheerful winter friends

Close-up of iris flower

As a lily among brambles,so is my love among the young women.
(Song of Solomon 2:2 ESV)

Near the entrance to the building in which I work is a patch of irises. I particularly like these irises because they flower during the winter, adding a splash of cheerfulness on gloomy days as I head to work.

I’m no gardening expert, but to the best of my knowledge these plants would normally flower in spring or summer, but for at least 12 years that I know of this clump of greenery has flowered right in the coldest part of winter. I feel like they have been my little cheerful friends for many years now, even when I have worked in other parts of campus these flowers boldly send a message of beauty and hope during the dreariest part of each year.

Somehow these small, fragile living things displaying their beauty does more to lift my heart than all my own efforts to do so. As I near the one thousand mark on my eucharisteo list I notice that many times I have given thanks for the fresh air, sunlight, plants, birds, insects, hills, and water that is given by God to all of us to partake of.

These flowers remind me of God’s extravagant love. His love in placing reminders of Him and His creative power in my path. His extravagance in that even though flowers wither within days and may not be seen by many, it is God’s pleasure to make them. Within the thorny brambles of life in a sin-wrecked world God creates stunning beauty for everyone if they will look for it.

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!
(Luke 12:27–28 ESV)

Gifts I have noticed recently:

  • Frost crystals on a sunlit rock {973}
  • Irises blazing midwinter colour {976}
  • Dozing in the sunshine {978}
  • Being less then 1 metre from an adult fur seal {980}
  • Enormous ice creams {983}
  • Very silly, giggly girls at bedtime {990}
  • Three-year-old son ‘reading’ the dictionary {995}
  • A quiet cup of tea with my wife after she finished work {997}
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The total supremacy of Christ

We are all inclined to boast, some are more subtle than others. Paul really goes for it in Colossians 1:17-18, starting with a John-like comment about Christ existing before all things and holding everything together, he then says that Jesus is head of the church before returning to speak of the beginning and Christ’s supremacy over everything.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
(Colossians 1:17-18 ESV)

What makes this boasting OK is that it is true – Jesus is all this.

I find it interesting how Paul structured this passage – I’m no literary scholar but even I can see the pattern:

– creation/beginning
– church
– beginning

Even the larger context of Colossians 1:15-20 has this movement, with emphasis weighted on beginnings/creation in verses 15-17 and on the church and reconciliation in verses 18-20. Paul seems to use our ready comprehension of the authority and power of Christ displayed as Creator to point out the even greater majesty and glory of his being the head of the church.

This puts caring for, serving, honouring, shepherding and loving the church into awesome perspective, doesn’t it?

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The source of eternal life

The opening verses of John’s gospel are clearly alluding to the account of creation in Genesis 1. Compare John 1:1-5 with Genesis 1:1-4. As I have already commented, we see that in the beginning was Jesus who is God, he created, and there was darkness. In  Genesis 1:3 God creates light, in John 1:4 we are told that the life which is in Jesus is light.

This light which John refers to must be more than the light of Genesis 1:3 because Jesus is God, he is not created and John is saying that the light he is talking about is in Jesus in that it is of the life that is in Jesus — life that is uncreated. It follows therefore, that the light of Jesus is likewise uncreated, in other words, eternal.

Jesus refers to himself as being the light of the world (John 8:12). The life of Jesus is the light of men, and we also know from 1 John 5:11 that God has given us eternal life, which is in Jesus. It is consistent with John’s use of language to think of the ‘light of men’ as being the eternal life we receive from Jesus. In fact reading the entire prologue of John’s gospel (John 1:1-18) makes this quite clear.

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Overflowing, extravagant, glorious Life

Okarito beach

Our experiences as individuals make us sensitive to different aspects of who Jesus Christ is. For me, with fifteen years of working in biochemistry labs behind me, the statement, “In him was life” (John 1:4) hits me with an explosion of glory and wonder. I have painstakingly pulled apart cells and molecules searching out the mechanisms which sustain life, but life itself remains elusive.

In him was life

Jesus is not only a means or channel of life, it is in him, life does not exist apart from Christ. Life is in the Word and therefore there is life in his creation (John 5:26).

This was imprinted on my memory one day when I stood on Okarito beach in Westland National Park where, from the sea behind me, the stones under my feet, the seaweed on the beach, the grassy dunes, the scrub beyond and then the lush, vibrant rainforest cloaking every hill and mountain right up to the snow came a grand testimony to God’s love of life and living things. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), we should be very glad the life that is in the Word is indestructible (Hebrews 7:16) because the life inherent in Jesus Christ is our hope.

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Jesus Christ is our creator

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:3

You will notice about the apostle John that he often uses quite circular language, making a statement and then restating the same idea with a different nuance. I rather like his style of writing (it really annoys others) because what it often achieves is to differentiate what he is saying from what he is not saying.

In the verse I’m considering here he is making it clear that the Word (Jesus) is the means by which all that exists has been created, but he is not himself created. The Word was in the beginning, he is God, he is not himself a created being (John 1:1-3).

So our perception of Jesus must include knowing him as Creator of all things. To bring it even  closer, he created you, and me. It is through Jesus Christ that you exist — to use a circular argument myself, it is impossible for Jesus not to exist because you exist and all things that exist only do so through Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 8:6). Our continued existence reassures us that Jesus is God. (I know that argument won’t wash with an atheist because it requires trusting that the Bible is the revealed word of God.)

Not only were all things created by Jesus, they were all created for him (Colossians 1:16). In Johannine style, all that is made was made for him. This also takes some getting you head around, all that exists (or has existed) was made for Jesus, even Hitler, even Satan. (Chew on that, but please don’t choke on it — don’t destroy your trust in the goodness of God ( Mark 10:18) for the sake of an intellectual idea.)

Finally, Jesus created all and he will inherit all things  (Hebrews 1:2). In this we also know that all things are his to do with as he wills, he has been appointed Judge (Acts 17:31) and he judges in justice and truth (Revelation 16:7). The positive and glorious aspect of Jesus inheriting all things is that he inherits the Church, all the saints, as his bride — this indeed is a profound mystery!  (Ephesians 1:18, 5:32).